Editorial Report

An op-ed by Cooper Lloyd in The Washington Post‘s new Green section pushed for city-wide curbside composting. If it adopted this kind of progressive plan,

Washington could reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, free up space in its landfills and even generate fertilizer to keep the city’s parks and public spaces beautiful.

In countering one potential barrier to adoption–apathy, the author draws a parallel with recycling.

The United States has improved from recycling only 6 percent of its municipal waste in 1960 to one-third of it today. Americans do have the capacity to change.

Meanwhile, The NY Times‘ Thomas Friedman had an op-ed on food and poverty in Egypt. This scenario sets the tone: photo by the(?) (via Creative Commons)

Someone else has collected a donkey cart full of pita scraps to be sold for animal feed. Nothing wasted.

The piece included this perspective-lending statistic:

For Egypt’s poor, who make up 40 percent of the population, food makes up 60 percent of their household budget.

Comparatively, the poorest 40 percent (I combined the bottom two quintiles) of Americans spend 15 percent of their annual expenditures on food.

This uses the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data–from 2005, unfortunately. While that figure will have surely risen, it puts things in perspective. Compared to many places, food has been relatively cheap in the U.S. That prolonged, inexepensive abundance has been a root cause of food waste.

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